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Deadly shooting follows low-priority alarm in Colorado Springs

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It was what the Colorado Springs Police Department calls a Priority Three alarm: A minor incident “requiring a response that is dispatched based on the availability of patrol units.” What followed was the nightmare scenario dreaded by police, alarm companies and alarm users alike.

According to CSPD spokeswoman Barbara Miller, a security alarm was triggered at the home of David Dunlap and Whitney Butler at 11:10 a.m. on Jan. 14. The alarm company, ADT, then called Dunlap’s cellphone and left a message for him to call back. At 11:18, ADT called police to notify them about the alarm.

Based on department policy to reduce the burden of false alarms in the city, officers were not dispatched.

“We had no units available,” Miller told Security Systems News. “We do priority calls. … If there is a ‘crime in progress’ call [with a life-threatening situation], those are first. If it’s a human-activated alarm or a panic alarm, that’s also a high priority. We would respond immediately to that.”

At 11:25, Dunlap returned ADT’s call and was informed about the alarm, but he did not call police, Miller said. Thirty-five minutes later, CSPD responded to a report of shots fired at the couple’s Bassett Drive address. Police say Dunlap and Whitney were killed as they entered their home by 17-year-old Macyo January, who was arrested three days later and charged with first-degree murder.

Miller said the incident calls attention to a common and potentially dangerous oversight by alarm users: If an alarm is activated, they should not assume there will be an immediate response from law enforcement.

“Many times, the alarm company will notify the owner that their house alarm has been activated. If that person returns to his or her home to check on the alarm, they must be extremely cautious and vigilant,” she said. “For instance, if they notice a front door that might be slightly opened or a broken window, or see a suspicious vehicle parked outside their home, we would strongly recommend that they call 911 so an officer can check for a possible burglary in progress or burglary that just occurred.”

Miller said that Colorado Springs police will respond to any activation when there is evidence that a crime has been committed—“i.e., a responsible party is on scene and has told the alarm company there is a broken window at the residence or business. Another example would be an alarm service indicates they have video surveillance inside of the business and they can see someone inside of the location.”

Ron Walters, director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, told SSN that virtually all police agencies, even those with scaled-back response policies, handle human-activated alarms “at a fairly high priority.” That goes for video intrusion alarms as well, but as Walters pointed out, there is only so much a security company can do.

“Alarms are designed as a deterrent and cannot stop a crime from happening,” he said. “The best deterrent remains the threat of response by a well-trained and armed police official.”

Consumer website debuts ‘Request a Quote’ feature for ADT, Vivint and others

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02/06/2013

PHILADELPHIA—SecuritySystemReviews.com, a consumer home security and alarm system review, has added a new function to its website that allows customers to find quotes for security systems, according to a company statement.

Analysts raise price target on shares of ADT

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02/04/2013

NEW YORK—Several analysts boosted the price target on shares of ADT last week, according to an article by dailypolitical.com.

ASAP getting closer to reaching ‘critical mass’

Central stations stepping up to speed alarm notifications to PSAPs
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02/01/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—After big strides in 2012 that put an array of technical and logistical challenges behind it, the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol is getting closer to reaching “critical mass” nationwide, according to ASAP proponent Ed Bonifas.

Barnes Buchanan conference to kick off Feb. 7

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01/29/2013

PALM BEACH, Fla.—The 18th annual Barnes Buchanan Security Alarm Conference is scheduled for Feb. 7-9 at The Breakers resort.

ADT fire alarm saves woman in Illinois

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01/24/2013

BURR RIDGE, Ill.—Stacey Toscas was about to step into the shower when her ADT smoke detector began to beep. Seconds later, she discovered her dining room had erupted in flames, according to a report from The Chicago Sun-Times Burr Ridge website.

Vivint innovates with new position

Vivint is the second prominent home security/home automation company—ADT was first—to create and fill an innovation officer job
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01/15/2013

PROVO, Utah—Vivint announced today that it has created a new position—chief strategy and innovation officer—and has named Matthew Eyring, a prominent strategy consultant, to the job.

ADT adding remote health monitoring to Pulse

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ADT is getting into the health monitoring game.

The company announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it has teamed with Toronto-based Ideal Life to offer at-home and mobile health management services. ADT will integrate Ideal Life’s health monitoring and information technology into ADT Pulse, which gives customers remote access to home automation and security features.

Ideal Life bills its monitoring system as “proactive prevention” for people managing chronic conditions such as congestive health failure, hypertension, diabetes, asthma or obesity. The system utilizes digital, wireless, secure two-way communication devices to measure and relay information about glucose levels, blood pressure, body weight, oxygen saturation and heart rate.

“Ideal Life’s solutions empower consumers by educating them on the status of their conditions as well as the advantages of prevention,” Don Boerema, ADT’s chief corporate development officer, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with their team to offer these valuable new services to our customers.”

Other monitoring companies have been into remote health management for a while, so it will be interesting to see what kind of traction ADT gets and how soon it will have an impact. But given the company’s size and marketing power, its push into the field will be hard to ignore.

New Guardian SVP to lead brand expansion efforts

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01/08/2013

WARRENDALE, Pa.—Barry Bruce, recently hired as senior vice president at Guardian Protection Services, will be responsible for leading a multi-dimensional inside sales center at the company, according to a Guardian statement.

Florida university receives $500,000 gift from ADT

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12/26/2012

BOCA RATON, Fla.—The Florida Atlantic University athletics department recently received a gift of $500,000 for its stadium from ADT, according to a company statement.

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